I’m not a runner. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. I don’t enjoy running per se – I think “runner's high” is just a lack of oxygen to the brain, and people who say they like it are lying or crazy.
I started running a few years ago in order to “train” for one of those crazy mud-run-obstacle-course-torture races. I raced with a team of friends, and that first experience was so much fun that I’ve continued training and racing ever since.
Many of the obstacles require some form of teamwork to complete – like boosting each other over impossibly high walls, or carrying heavy logs or sandbags together. It’s a great feeling to know you can rely on your friends, and even total strangers who just help each other out, on race day.
The best part of running? (Hint: It’s still not the elusive “runners high.”) Now I run with my kids. You may have seen the piece I wrote last year on the Big Muddy Challenge that I ran with my daughter. BMC is a parent-child mud run where the obstacles require skills from both adults and children. What a great way to take that obstacle course teamwork and turn it into a family accomplishment!
The Big Muddy Challenge is coming up again this weekend, and we are registered and ready to go!
I’ve also spent two seasons now helping coach the Girls on the Run program. This is an after school program where girls, ages 8 to 12, build confidence and social and emotional skills in a curriculum that integrates running. Each season culminates in a 5K fun run.
So now I’ve gotten to run in two 5Ks alongside my daughter, with both of us encouraging each other throughout. It’s one thing to cheer on my kid from the sidelines, and another to be in the thick of it with her – but it’s a whole different world when I’m getting tired and SHE is encouraging ME!
Next up, a couple of 5K fun runs with both kids. My son has been a little jealous of the past few races that I’ve done with my daughter. He’s not old enough for the Big Muddy Challenge, and of course he was not involved in Girls on the Run, so we’ve found a few races where he can join us too.
We haven’t exactly “trained” with him just yet, but I have a feeling he doesn’t need any extra practice running me ragged!
Stacy Lamb of Apex is the divorced mom of two. She is an active member and former organizer of Single Parents of the Triangle. Find her here monthly.